Investing.com - Oil prices retreated from multi-year highs on Wednesday morning in Asia, pulled back by an industry organization’s comment that U.S. crude stockpiles built unexpectedly last week.
Crude Oil WTI Futures for June delivery were trading at $71.09 a barrel at 11:00PM ET (03:00 GMT), down 0.31%. Brent Oil Futures for July delivery, traded in London, were down 0.24% at $78.24 per barrel.
The American Petroleum Institute said crude stockpiles rose nearly 5 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 763,000-barrel draw.
Rising U.S. drilling for new oil production has also kept oil prices in check. U.S. drillers added 10 oil rigs in the week to May 11, bringing the total count to 844, the highest level since March 2015.
Additionally, oil prices eased as the U.S. dollar strengthened against other currencies. As the dollar strengthens, investors can retreat from dollar-denominated commodities like oil.
Oil prices have surged more than 70% over the last year as demand has risen sharply while production has been restricted by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia, and other producers, including Russia.
The tightening market has all but eliminated a global supply overhang which depressed crude prices between late 2014 and early 2017.
Looming U.S. sanctions against Iran have also raised fears that oil markets will face shortages later this year when trade restrictions take effect.
Iran currently produces around 4% of global oil supplies and is OPEC’s third-largest producer.
Meanwhile, traders are worried that near-record high refinery runs in China may be short-lived. China’s refinery runs rose nearly 12% in April from a year earlier, to around 12.1 million barrels per day (bpd), marking the second-highest level on record on a daily basis.
Shanghai Crude Oil WTI Futures for September delivery were up 0.83% at 474.90 yuan ($74.54) per barrel on Wednesday at 11:00PM ET (03:00 GMT).
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